In autumn 2003, the kick-off was given for the biggest renovation project the former royal estate has undergone since Louis-Philippe. It was to be spread out over 17 years and cost 350 million euros.
The development plan is structured around 4 main ideas :
1 - Returning Versailles to its historical state by restoring the palace’s full radiance with the completion of the restoration of the main wall facing the gardens, the Marble courtyard and the Royal Courtyard and by continuing the restoration of the Gardens started in 1990, highly accelerated after the storm of December 1999. The most spectacular transformation continues to be the reinstallation of the Royal Gate (dismantled in 1793 and melted for its copper) between the Dufour and Gabriel Pavilions and the restoration of the cobbling in the Royal Courtyard which was restored to its original level.
2 - To protect the heritage by improving the devices used for the safety of visitors and the buildings, by renovating the technical equipment and by reinforcing the protection of the palace against the risks of intrusion and vandalism.
3 - To promote heritage through the creation, in April 2004, of an “Images and Civilization of the Court” Research Centre, and by the reorganisation and modernisation of the reserve collections and museum workshops.
4 - To improve visitor reception, by freeing up the spaces resulting from the grouping together in the Grand Lodgings of the administrative and scientific services which currently occupy the Dufour Pavilion, and by transferring areas from the National Assembly and the Senate. Allowing us to reorganise and improve the visitor reception in order to simplify the methods of access to the palace, expand the possibilities of individual visits and give visitors additional keys to comprehension. The renovations of the technical equipment of the Royal Opera as well as the creation of an underground passage connecting the Grand Lodgings to the Palace were completed in 2006.